Local bank’s CEO resigns; new Powhatan branch in the works

New Horizon will build a branch at Stoneridge, a 7-acre development in Powhatan. (Luck Cos.)

New Horizon will build a branch at Stoneridge, a 7-acre development in Powhatan. (Luck Cos.)

The Richmond market’s youngest and smallest bank is on the hunt for a new CEO, but not letting the leadership change slow down its plan to build a branch in a Luck Cos.-led development in Powhatan.

New Horizon Bank, a $75 million bank founded in Powhatan in 2009, confirmed this week that founding CEO Jimmy Keller has resigned.

Kathy Grasty, CFO and interim president and CEO, said Keller left the bank last month. She declined to comment further, other than to say Keller still serves on the bank’s board of directors, which is searching for a permanent replacement.

Keller, who started New Horizon with a group that left the former Bank of Powhatan, could not be reached for comment by press time.

That leaves Grasty steering the ship after a strong first quarter and as the bank is under contract to purchase a 1.5-acre plot at 1906 Anderson Highway, where it will be one of several tenants in a commercial development in the works by the real estate arm of locally based stone quarry kings Luck Cos.

The 7-acre development, dubbed Stoneridge, will feature up to seven pad sites that will be sold off to commercial users.

New Horizon looks to be the first to sign on and will build a 3,700-square-foot building to replace the current home of its lone branch and executive office three miles west.

Rendering of the planned bank branch. (New Horizon)

Rendering of the planned bank branch. (New Horizon)

Grasty said the move was prompted in part by construction of a CVS next to its branch at 2501 Anderson Highway.

“There’s a lot of construction going on around us and the configuration of that will leave us with limited parking for the building we’re in and access issues for our drive-in,” she said.

Grasty said the new building will serve solely as a bank branch and the company’s operations will lease space elsewhere in Powhatan. Its 22 employees will work across those two sites.

She said it hopes to start construction this fall and open in spring 2018. Dayton, Thompson & Associates is the architect for the new building. The bank has yet to formally hire a general contractor. Timmons Group is doing site engineering work.

The broader Stoneridge development is led by Luck Real Estate Ventures – one of three operating groups within the Luck Cos. umbrella, in addition to Luck Stone and Luck Ecosystems.

Director of real estate Ben Thompson said the group’s mission is “activating the company’s nonperforming real estate assets.”

In the case of Stoneridge, that means developing excess land acquired by Luck adjacent to its active quarry just north on Luck Stone Road, where it produces crushed stone used for asphalt and concrete. The land had been primarily a patch of trees with an entrance road that leads to the quarry.

“We have the good fortune of owning a lot of properties in good, growing markets adjacent to strong thoroughfares,” Thompson said. “We work to transition those assets to higher and better use.”

Project manager Bruce Smith said Luck has been doing site work at Stoneridge for about six weeks and should have pad sites ready by Aug. 1. It hopes to complete the roadway into Stoneridge by winter.

Luck Cos. said it has competing offers from three or four prospective users on some of the pads and has talked to free-standing retailers and a couple breweries. Thalhimer brokers David Crawford and Pam Strieffler are fielding the interest.

Those users will have to follow design guidelines laid out by Luck, which includes incorporating stone and other natural materials into the buildings.

Luck’s land-use manager Vik Murthy said growth is moving in the direction of the Stoneridge site, which sits next to a Walmart that opened in 2012.

“We see development coming west and we wanted to create a development that would fill a need in the community,” Murthy said.

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Shirley Rosser

I know Jimmy will be missed!!